Boutwell, George

1857 ALS from the former Massachusets governor recalling a 1773 Boston declaration against slavery

Price: $65.00

Description:
(1818-1905) Ardent early Massachusetts abolitionist, Grant's Secretary of the Treasury 1869-73, Governor of Massachusetts 1851-53, US Rep 1863-69, Senator 1873-77, 1st Commissioner of Internal Revenue 1862-63. He helped create the Republican Party and championed African American citizenship and suffrage during Reconstruction. In 1855, he was appointed Secretary of the state Board of Education, a post he held for 5 years. In August 1855, 4 major factions held meetings in Boston to find common ground for the upcoming state election. Boutwell convinced the groups to attend a grand meeting at which he argued that they should form a "union against slavery". Out of this and related activity the state Republican Party was born. Despite his role in its early formation, he remained somewhat apart from the organization because of his job at the Board of Education. He did however continue to speak out against slavery, noting that the nation was embarking on a "period of intense trial", and that "people will make war" over slavery. While US Rep, he was instrumental in the drafting and passage of the 14th & 15th Amendments to the Constitution. As Treasury Secretary, he made much needed reforms in the Department after the chaos of the Civil War and the impeachment trial of President Johnson. As Secretary, he controversially reduced the national debt by selling Treasury gold and using greenbacks to buy up Treasury bonds, creating a shortage of much needed cash for farmers in the West and the territories. Boutwell and Grant thwarted an attempt to corner the gold market in September 1869 by releasing $4M of gold into the economy. As Senator, he successfully sponsored the Civil Rights Act of 1875. In 1877, President Hayes appointed him Commissioner to codify the Revised Statutes of the United States and in 1880 to serve as US counsel before the French and American Claims Commission. As national industrial interests desired reconciliation with the South, Boutwell fell out of favor with Republicans when he advocated in 1880 that Congress needed to take measures to destroy the Solid South. In 1900, he abandoned the Republican Party and supported Wm. J. Bryan for President. Nice content 10 x 8 ALS of the former governor while Secretary of the State Board of Education, Boston, April 20 1857, acceding to an autograph request, adding: "You may be a young man and determined to exert some influence upon the future of your city and country; I therefore commend to you the declaration of the town of Boston during the revolutionary struggles: - we can endure poverty, but we disdain slavery.'" At a 1773 Boston town meeting, a declaration stated, in part: "We have abundant reason to apprehend that a plan of despotism ... is hastening to a completion; the late measures of the administration have a direct tendency to deprive us of every thing valuable as ... subjects, entitled to the rights of native Britons...We are not afraid of poverty... but we disdain slavery."

Condition: Very good
Type:Letter






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